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With Top-Performing Franchisee in North Carolina, Melting Pot Targets the State for Growth

The North Carolina market has been primed for the fondue franchise’s growth, and now the team is looking to add two more units.

By Morgan Wood1851 Franchise Contributor
SPONSOREDUpdated 12:12PM 02/15/24

NORTH CAROLINA – Melting Pot, the 93-unit fondue franchise, has proven its strength in the North Carolina market. Franchisee Brian Neel, who grew from a dishwasher to a multi-unit franchisee with the brand, opened his first Melting Pot in Charlotte in 1989. Now, he and his wife, Kay, are one of the top-performing owners in the entire system. Neel has proven just how powerful a driven franchise owner in the North Carolina market can be, and the team is now looking to grow its presence in the state even further.

“Brian and Kay are a prime example of the type of success that can be found through franchising with Melting Pot in North Carolina,” said Melting Pot’s Franchise Growth Strategist Collin Benyo. “They put the work in at the start of their entrepreneurial journey, and now they are reaping the rewards of that hard work and the strength of the Melting Pot brand in the state.”

After launching his career with Melting Pot in North Carolina, Neel has successfully expanded, growing across multiple states, partnering with other franchisees and guiding young Melting Pot employees toward ownership as they demonstrate interest. 

“At most, we’ve had 16 restaurants. We have seven now, but that decrease is because, in our agreement with some of our managing partners, we have an option for them to buy us out completely over time,” explained Neel. “That’s proven to be pretty successful for us. At our annual convention, we meet other franchisees, develop friendships with them and start to invest with each other to open in different parts of the U.S.”

With Neel’s success in mind, the development team is looking to grow even more in the North Carolina market. There are currently five Melting Pot restaurants across the state, and the team sees room for two more in Asheville and Greensboro.

“Along with five locations already thriving in the market, Front Burner Brands has a proof of concept we are engaging in Asheville called ‘Melting Pot Social,’ a bar-centric experience that puts a whimsical twist on the traditional Melting Pot experience,” added Benyo. “The concept is in the early stages of testing and consideration for franchising in the future.”

After a year of meaningful growth and evolution in 2023, with nine new remodels completed and deals for two new markets signed, Melting Pot is looking to continue along its positive trajectory.

“We’re seeing great movement from both outside sources and franchisees within the family,” said Benyo. “There are some exciting things in the pipeline for this year, and we look forward to bringing even more great candidates into the fold as we continue our growth.”

Melting Pot is remaining flexible for its North Carolina growth, drawing on the adaptability of the model to find the perfect fit for the entrepreneur and community.

“We want to utilize our brand’s unique ability to adapt to each location and cater to the local flavor,” added Benyo. “Because Melting Pot has a very unique culinary approach, we can entertain many different locations and help franchisees weigh the pros and cons of each option, supporting them in making the strongest decision for their business.”

As the team continues conversations regarding North Carolina expansion, key members will visit the state to meet with qualified franchisees and learn more about their communities, goals and vision for growth with the brand.

About Melting Pot

Founded in 1975, Melting Pot has offered a unique fondue dining experience for more than 45 years. As the premier fondue restaurant franchise, Melting Pot has 93 restaurants in 31 U.S. states and Canada. Known for offering a variety of fondue cooking styles and unique entrées, Melting Pot’s menu also features cheese fondues, salads, fine wines, spirits and chocolate fondue desserts. Fondue fans can join Melting Pot’s Club Fondue for exclusive promotions, special events and advance holiday reservation privileges. Melting Pot is an affiliate of Front Burner Brands, a restaurant management company headquartered in Tampa, Florida. For more information, visit To learn more about franchise opportunities with Melting Pot, please visit

About Front Burner

Headquartered in Tampa, Front Burner is the restaurant management company for Melting Pot Restaurants, Inc., the new casual whimsical dining concept Melting Pot Social and fast-casual concept  Oronzo Honest Italian! Melting Pot currently has more than 94 restaurants in 31 U.S. states and Canada. Melting Pot Social opened its first location in July 2021 in Asheville, NC and it’s second location in Tampa, FL in June 2023 Oronzo opened its first location in Tampa, FL. in June 2020.. For more information, visit